European MOOC strategies differ from the U.S. ..... but stronger orchestrated collaboration needed.

by Darco Jansen, EADTU, The Netherlands

Three independent studies shows that that more than 40% of higher education institutions in Europe has a MOOC or is planning to develop one. The survey of the EUA conducted end 2013 already stated that ”interest in MOOCs has far from peaked in Europe”.

Based on a the 2014 survey, conducted by HOME project of EADTU, the report Institutional MOOC strategies in Europe also concluded that MOOC involvement in Europe is increasing. Preliminary results of another study (JRC-IPTS, 2015) conducted in five large European countries shows differences between countries, ranging from 25% in Germany to about 60% in France.

This is a striking difference with the U.S. where the number of institutions that has a MOOC or is planning to develop one, dropped from 14.3% in 2013 to 13.6% in 2014. Other strong differences between Europe and U.S. are:

  • While U.S. institutions are mostly neutral or disagree, more than half of the EU institutions agree that MOOCs are a sustainable method for offering courses.
  • While in the U.S. surveys, a large majority (66%) states that it is too early to tell if MOOCs are meeting the institution’s objective, the majority in EU (58%) emphasizes that MOOCs are already meeting some or most objectives.
  • In contrast to U.S., the European HEIs seem to disagree with the statement that “Credentials for MOOC completion will cause confusion about higher education degrees”.
  • While in the U.S. survey, the opinion is mostly neutral or disagree, in the EU version a large majority of the respondents agree that “MOOCs are important to learn about online pedagogy”.
A scientific paper about these 2014 results will be published mid December in a special issue of IRRODL. In that paper it is amongst others stated that these difference relates to the social-inclusive dimension of the higher education system in continental Europe, such that European institutions have more or less equal resources to be involved in MOOCs.

In the next steps, Europe needs to take are a stronger orchestrated collaboration on MOOCs. To enhance collaboration it is essential to keep monitoring the main reasons why institutions and governments are investing in MOOCs. Therefore the survey is repeated again this year and is available in English, French and Turkish.

In addition network meetings are needed on themes that strongly relate to institutional priorities. After two successful events (Porto, Barcelona), the HOME project organises the Conference “WOW! Europe embraces MOOCs” in Rome, 30 November 2015. Due to overwhelming interest the host UNINETTUNO gratefully decided to move to be bigger venue. As such you are still invited to join.